Rose’s hand stroked his cheek. “Ohhh, Penn. This well-fed English…
Fourth Paw settled down in the sniper’s nest on top of Automated Guard Unit Nine.
Fourth and Nine depended on each other.
Fourth had gone feral due to her small size and being the bottom of the pecking order of cats on the company-sized base. Nine interacted with no one except for repair bots during its annual maintenance. The pairing worked and no one seemed to notice.
Unhooking from its charging port, Nine wheeled through the fort gate and started its daily routine. Taking different routes across the scrub of the newly terraformed planet every time it went out, the unit flushed small game as it traveled.
When a rodent scurried away, Nine stopped, and Fourth pounced.
As evening slowly enveloped them, Fourth made one last catch and settled into the nest, playing with a fat mouse. Slowly gutting it and lapping up the results as dinner, she rolled onto her back and purred.
Life was sweet when you had an Automated Guard Unit on your side.